‘Rogue landlord’ a product of a broken housing system
Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the landlord found guilty "deliberately and knowingly" failing to lodge 81 tenancy bonds should be banned from leasing future properties, and the case should be a wake-up call for Government to act faster on our broken housing system.
“News of a landlord being ordered to pay almost $180,000 after “deliberately and knowingly” failing to lodge 81 tenancy bonds speak of a wider systemic problem with our housing market. At the moment landlords are able to take advantage of a lack of public housing and easy access to bond money from vulnerable people receiving Work and Income assistance”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty.
“People in precarious housing conditions are easy victims for predatory landlords who are profiting from a lack of public housing by providing substandard accommodation and claiming bond money from Work and Income recipients. Widharni Debbie Iskandar’s case is a symptom of successive Government’s inaction on providing enough public housing for low-income tenants.
“Work and Income grants that go towards bond are recoverable, which means tenants have to pay the full amount back, no matter what condition they leave the tenancy in. Landlords can easily claim back the full bond amount paid by Work and Income and make a profit while ripping off taxpayers by providing substandard accommodation for vulnerable people.
“The Government needs to start making a shift from pouring millions of dollars in subsidies towards private landlords in the form of Work and Income bond grants and accommodation supplement schemes and instead build enough public housing and lift incomes. The Government’s own budget documents show that by 2023 the taxpayers will be subsidising private landlords by a record $1.8b in accommodation supplement costs, while spending $116 million dollars a year subsidising moteliers who provide emergency housing costs. All the while the Government continues with its poor public housing targets which will barely cover half the people currently on the social housing waiting list.
“We are calling on the Government to put measures in place to stop exploitative landlords such as Widharni Debbie Iskandar from leasing properties but also to invest far more money into public housing so that we do not see stories like these happening again”